What an interesting week it has been! I’ve had a major breakthrough with my current WIP and I’m right on track with my word-count goal for this month! I also went to a sort of flea market (I suppose you would call it) and discovered a few literary treasures! Nearly all of them are in Hungarian, however I found one children’s book written in German from 1938 (prior to the outbreak of WWII in 1939), a Hungarian translation of Jerome K. Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat”, a Hungarian translation of August Strindberg’s short story “Historical Miniatures” from the early 1900s and the most favourite of my findings -a translated copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death”.
I didn’t believe it to be real when I first saw it, it’s not a first edition by any means (the short story originally was published in 1842 in a magazine) and this edition is in the form of a small booklet and was printed in 1919. From doing a little research, it seems this booklet was one of 12 translated “classics” that were offered for sale in Budapest. Each short story included both the original story, int he language it was first published (i.e. English, French etc.) as well as the Hungarian translation. Being published in 1919, this would have been during the time when Hungary was reeling from the aftermath of WWI and depending on the exact date of publication, could have been during the time of short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic or perhaps it was published in late 1919 when the Kingdom of Hungary was reestablished. Hungary was a very unsettled country in the aftermath of WWI, so to find this classic as a relatively intact bilingual edition (all pages are there but damaged around the edges) buried in a pile of books ranging from the early 1900s to the present was quite a find!
This little market adventure has also given me a little inspiration for my current WIP and I can feel a piece of the story falling into place. There’s nothing like immersing yourself in history in order to gain some inspiration and in keeping with that theme I also visited the Budapest History Museum in Buda Castle. There was a section of one of the permanent exhibitions that included furniture and items from the early 1900s, perfect inspiration for my current WIP! Looking at the family dining table, the writing desk and the other bits and pieces, I began to imagine József and his surroundings, the things that he did, where he might sit to eat his supper, the possibilities and imaginings are limitless.
I’ve also changed the opening of my WIP, in order to have a better lead in to the main narrative. This will also help to link József’s story with Rose’s, which actually occurs some years after. By making this change, I’ve found that the story is beginning to flow a lot more freely, the words are coming without me having to try and force them. So it seems at this point that I have made the right decision.
“Rules such as “Write what you know,” and “Show, don’t tell,” while doubtlessly grounded in good sense, can be ignored with impunity by any novelist nimble enough to get away with it. There is, in fact, only one rule in writing fiction: Whatever works, works.”
― Tom Robbins
So for now, I’m going to go with Tom Robbins’ advice and stick with whatever works! And as long as it is working, I’ll keep going with it!
As a treat for reading this far I have a little sneak peek into some of the changes that I’ve made, remember this is still very much a first draft and who knows how much of it I’ll actually delete before I’m satisfied with it!
József sat in the small chair next to the girl’s bed, matching each small, short breath she took with his own, counting. She was still breathing, still alive. At least that was some sort of reassurance, perhaps he had found her in time and had not completely failed her altogether.
It was the early hours of the morning, that moment between night and day, the moment when the light of day is trying to chase away the darkness of the night and there was much darkness to be chased away on this day. His shoulders and back ached, he had no notion of how many hours he had been sitting in that chair, but he knew the chair seemed a lot softer when he first sat. Yet still, he continued to sit, despite the assurances of the Sisters that they would keep vigil and contact him should there be any changes. He couldn’t help but feel responsible for the girl, so he stayed. The shoulders of his solid frame, slumped slightly with exhaustion. Despite his obvious exhaustion, his body emanated a sense of strength, physically, mentally, emotionally, coming from within. He wasn’t a young man, he was old enough to be the girl’s father and if it wasn’t for the vast differences in their physical appearance, it was surely what this scene appeared to be – a father, who was beyond exhausted, keeping vigil at his daughter’s side, hoping that through mere strength and stubbornness he could grant her the strength to fight and the will to live.
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